I love France #56: Book review: Paris, I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down


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Paris, I Love You
but You’re Bringing Me Down


Rosecrans BALDWIN

304 pages

ISBN-10: 1250033357
ISBN-13:  9781250033352

Paris, I love you

Release date: June 25, 2013 by Picador/Macmillan

In full compliance with FTC Guidelines,
I received a free paperback of this book from
in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I was in no way compensated for this post,
and the thoughts are my own.

You can purchase this book
by clicking on the publisher’s link (hardcover, paperback, ebook).

This book counts for the following Reading Challenges:

     Books on France New Authors 2013


rating system

First, my apology for the irregular pace of that meme: sometimes nothing is up in a given week, and here you go, 2 posts for I Love France this week. The truth, there’s currently an abundance of great books on France.

I enjoyed this book very much. Like French Illusions, Paris, I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down helps to debunk our too romantic-ideal pictures of France, and especially of Paris.

Yes Paris can be beautiful, and Rosecrans and his wife did fall in its spell. But coming from the US to work there, they also experienced how tough the Parisians can be, and how difficult it is to feel integrated, even after you pass the first hurdle of the language.

Talking about language, in his vignettes following the chronology of his stay in Paris, a bit over a year, there are hilarious stories of misunderstanding. I picked up a few additional mistakes in the text, which I believe were not intentional,  so that added more fun to me, French reader.

There are lots of things on the work place and work ethics in France, if such a thing exists there, lol.
I really enjoyed Baldwin’s descriptions and reflections on differences between Americans and French.

The strength of the book I believe is the balance between the deep love of France and Paris AND the honest perceptions that not everything, to say the least, is honky-dory there, especially if you are sent to live and work in Paris.

If you are planning for a lengthy time there, please do read this book, it might even be a life-saver, and will definitely help you enjoy your stay better.


There were several passages on scarves; if you have been to Paris, you will understand why, as you probably quickly noticed how many Parisian MEN wear scarves, and with what art!
And oh yes the cold in Paris, actually especially in the subway corridors.

“Cold in Paris was both and physical and a mental note. It explained why Parisians wore scarves in June, because winter haunted them.” p.166

“The world outside America was a jungle. we adopted a sagelike carriage and clasped our sanitized hands behind our backs – for our pockets were stuffed full of incredible resources.” p.222


“A Judd Apatow film in the waiting…Very, very funny.”—John Freeman, The Boston Globe

A self-described Francophile since the age of nine, Rosecrans Baldwin had always dreamed of living in France. So when an offer presented itself to work at a Parisian ad agency, he couldn’t turn it down—even though he had no experience in advertising, and even though he hardly spoke French.

But the Paris that Rosecrans and his wife, Rachel, arrived in wasn’t the romantic city he remembered, and over the next eighteen months, his dogged American optimism was put to the test: at work (where he wrote booklets on breastfeeding), at home (in the hub of a massive construction project), and at every confusing dinner party in between. A hilarious and refreshingly honest look at one of our most beloved cities, Paris, I Love You is the story of a young man whose preconceptions are usurped by the oddities of a vigorous, nervy metropolis—which is just what he needs to fall in love with Paris a second time. [Publisher’s website]


Rosecrans Baldwin

Rosecrans Baldwin’s first novel, You Lost Me There, was named one of NPR’s Best Books of 2010, a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, and a Time and Entertainment Weekly Best Book of Summer 2010.
He is a cofounder of the online magazine The Morning News.

Go visit his website.
Or follow him on Twitter.


The Writing Life of Melanie Cole
Books Speak Volumes
Minnesota Reads
Goodreads Readers




Just a reminder guys:

If you link your own post on France,

please if possible

include the title of the book or topic in your link:

name of your blog (name of the book title or topic):

example : me @ myblog (Camus)



19 thoughts on “I love France #56: Book review: Paris, I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down

  1. How nice to have a more realistic novel a out the glories of France, which while indeed lovely, has its own issues just as every other city. It is hard to fit in, there is a stigma against Americans (somewhat justified I might add), and there have been riots every time I’ve visited. Hmmm, sounds just a bit like Chicago in the violence respect…


    • I totally agree. as French, I can say there’s a stigma even against all non-Parisians (this is reflected as well in the book), meaning against all other French people not living in Paris but “en province” [I am not talking about La Provence]. It actually speaks volume that we would have such a word to designate people who live anywhere but in Paris! Does any other country have a similar word?
      The book I mentioned in the first line of my review, French Illusions, has also its fair share of debunking, but that was about smaller towns in the Loire Valley.
      Thanks for stopping by.


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  5. Looks like a fun book! Paris, My Sweet also recorded some of the struggles of an American living and working in Paris. I enjoyed those aspects so I would probably like this book as well. I like seeing in the world both the ways that humans are similar to each other and the ways we distinguish ourselves.


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  7. Don’t know if I ‘m too late to add a book to your ‘I love France list’ but I read ‘The Lantern” by D.Lawrenson a while back. It is a mystery,fantasy, love story which captured the atmosphere and essence of Provence that I remember when I lived there many years ago. I was transported by it. I am also looking forward to read the book about St.Exupery. My aunt who lived in S.of France u ntil she was 100 yrs old , had Consuelo live with her in Haute Cagnes while they were trying to find Antoine after his plane disappeared in the Mediterranean.Consuelo drew a charcoal portrait of my aunt with ethereal ghostly images of her husband floating around her.It is sadly beautiful . Love your blog but have difficulty finding my way around it – so much to discover and I get distracted!!. I will perservere!. Jenny


    • OMG, I can’t believe this about Consuelo and your aunt, incredible! Thanks for sharing.
      do you have a book blog? or are you on Goodreads? if yes to any of these 2 questions, wait for this Monday, you will see a new post in the series “I love France”. at the end there will be a Mr Linky gadget. you can then click on it and link to your review of The Lantern.
      Gothic and in Provence? how did I miss that book?! thanks for mentioning it, just added it to my TBR.
      My “I love France” meme appears almost every week, so it is never too late to link any of your reviews related to France to the latest post. I keep the links from 1 post to the next, so that your link will always be in the current list.
      if you need any help with my website, let me know.
      thanks for stopping by! How did you find me by the way?


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